Fifteen years doesn’t seem like a lot to me. But then again, when you’ve recorded four times that total and more, it’s like a blink of an eye.
But the last 15 years have been some of the most satisfying of my life. Launching Global Gaming Business in the middle of 2002, less than a year after 9/11 shook the world, was a gamble. Like most industries, gaming had yet to recover. No one knew what was coming next. But we put together a small staff and began publishing two issues a month starting in July 2002.
That was our hook. We were far from the only gaming trade publication out there, so we needed to differentiate ourselves, and two magazines a month arriving on the desks of the executives should do just that.
My previous magazine had been bought by the industry giant that already owned the leading trade publication and was now part of the former annual trade show, World Gaming Congress. The nascent Global Gaming Expo (G2E) was struggling to compete and needed a publication vehicle. So with the support of the American Gaming Association and Reed Exhibitions, the two partners in G2E, we set off on our adventure.
It wasn’t long until the power of the AGA did away with the World Gaming Congress, so GGB became an important partner in promoting the new G2E. I’ve been a conference consultant to G2E since those early days, and I’m confident that the quality of the education sessions over the years truly set G2E apart from any competitor.
But it wasn’t easy. Our small staff—an editor, a writer and an art director—was often frazzled with the two-issues-a-month task. While we
didn’t have to paste up the pages on boards as I did early in my journalism career, the clunky software we used to lay out the magazines wasn’t much better. So after a year of the two-a-month, we cut back to one issue, and we relaxed a bit.
We began to get recognition as the industry’s major trade publication toward the end of 2003, when we featured cover stories on such luminaries as Boyd Gaming’s Bob Boughner, Caesars’ Gary Loveman, Steve Wynn and the legendary Dennis Gomes. This focus on important industry leaders became a hallmark of GGB and continues to this day.
In fact, it was Gomes who encouraged us to produce magazines for employees in Atlantic City and Las Vegas. Casino Connection became the voice of the employee, and discussed such important topics as customer service, upward mobility and how to manage your life in the fast casino world.
I moved from Atlantic City to Las Vegas in 2005 to start the Nevada version and we set up our main office in the capital of gaming.
We continued the upward move until the recession hit hard in 2007. Our partners—we call “advertisers” partners because we’re committed to helping them reach their goals across multiple media platforms—stuck with us. They may have reduced the number of pages they bought, but few abandoned us altogether. We unfortunately had to fold the two Casino Connections (the Atlantic City version remains online, however), and our staff tightened our belts to ride it out.
And we did, emerging on the other side, healthier and more dedicated than ever to serve the industry. And just recently we survived the “consolidation” in which several of our largest partners gobbled up the others. Again, our dedication to spreading the word about how these even larger companies would thrive has helped us maintain their loyalty.
And because our reputation has continued to grow, the newest companies to the industry understand that our relationships with our partners and our dedication to the industry will enable them to truly make an impact on gaming, so they’ve come to us in overwhelming numbers.
Yes, it’s been somewhat of a roller coaster these last 15 years. But because of the tremendous friends that we’ve made, the lasting relationships that we’ve forged and the amazing staff that has helped us overcome these hurdles, GGB will be around much, much longer. So thanks to all those people and organizations for making gaming great again!